Budgeting as a couple

Hi friends!

I'm curious how you all would approach this scenario.  My partner and I have a joint account with all of our shared expenses (including our mortgage, utilities, software, gym memberships, groceries, dining out, etc) but we also maintain separate accounts (for things such as our own student debt, car payments, and personal spending).  I think it would be easier for us to just maintain one account, but we're not there just yet.  So, in the meantime, I'm curious about how to budget this.  We've tried just using one budget for all three accounts but it got a bit confusing. 

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

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  • Three budgets is the way to go, I think. Link the appropriate account to each budget and you're ready to go. When you transfer between accounts you'll need to enter the transaction in both places and categorize the transfers.

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  • Have you tried categorizing, like "my student loan" "their student loan" "my car loan" "their car loan" etc, and placing the money from your account into your categories, their account into their categories, and your joint account to your joint expenses?  I have done this with 2 accounts which are for 2 specific things, so that the money in those accounts doesn't get mixed up with the rest of my budget.

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  • The nice thing about managing your budget in YNAB is that, when allocating your dollars, it doesn't matter which account that money is in. I have ~10 accounts associated with my budget, but I never have to worry about which account is paying for what categories. My budget is not dependent on my accounts. By having both of your incomes going in To Be Budgeted, you can freely allocate your combined money into your different categories. You would then have a separate category for each of your student loan debts, car payments, etc. For example, my wife and I each have a Fun Money category we use for whatever we wish. 

    If this idea of pooling all of your money together sounds a bit too much, then having one joint budget probably isn't the way to go. In that case, I'd take  mamster's suggestion of creating separate budgets and a shared budget for mutual expenses.

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    • Jherrmann5 Hi: I have a set up like the Steel Blue Admiral describes, but I find it a lot of work to maintain.  I tried having our joint account and my personal account in one budget (she doesn’t YNAB) but I was always afraid that although the spending categories can be set up just fine, how can you be sure that something that is going to be ‘direct debited’ out has enough money in that bank account, not just in the spending category? Do you have a master categories for each account or something like that? If there’s a way to do that, I’m all ears!

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Green Device I don’t have a partner, but I have 3 checking accounts and 3 savings accounts on budget (plus a whole bunch of other accounts). I don’t match categories to accounts. I know how much comes out of each account each month (inc average credit card bills). Therefore I make sure that each account has that amount plus X% in it at the beginning of the month. I try to limit direct debits out of my checking accounts to mortgage, HOA, credit card payments (full statement balance), and monthly transfer to brokerage. Everything else goes on credit cards so there isn’t tons of activity in the checking account. 

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    • Green Device There is no need to create categories for each account. YNAB already keeps track of your account balances for you. So, if you are worried that you may not have enough money in your account before making a purchase, you can just go to the Accounts tab/page within the app, and all of your account balances are listed on this page! As long as you are manually entering your transactions (and not relying upon auto-import, as this can cause a delay between when something is purchased and when it’s imported into YNAB), you can be sure this account balance is accurate. Then you can determine whether you have enough money in your account to make that purchase with your debit card!

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    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 2 yrs ago
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    I had my spouse fill in his login information in the app and then I can use direct import to take care of the transactions. I enter a lot of my own transactions manually, but the nagging needed to get my husband to do it is just too much. He shuts down about financial stuff, so I just use direct import and if I can't figure out what something was by the store it was purchased at, I will ask him. The only thing we have that isn't joint is our credit cards. I have a savings account from pre-marriage, but getting him to fill out the paperwork to be added as joint is painful, so it hasn't happened yet, although I keep trying.

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